Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-15

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 15

                 Monday, 23 October 1995

Today's Topics:

                A Satisfying Feast and ...
          Caveat Emptor: The new Jules Verne CD
                     the Disappointed
                  It's XTC--have no fear
              Blue Beret by touch-tone phone
             TD in Australia [and other guff]
            whatever happened to Limelight etc
                     The Good Things
                     Where is he now?
              Extatic Demos / Alibi Records
                   Generous With My C's
                  Testy Moan-ial Dinner
                 "Worst Track?"  C'mon!!
                        Re: P.Hux
                   watney's red barrel
                      The Verve Pipe
                       Bland Dinner
                    The XTC Video Tree


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

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Date: Sat, 21 Oct 95 02:54:00 UTC
Subject: A Satisfying Feast and ...

First, a belated (for me) note of thanks to John for the resumption of
Chalkhills, the best digest I've seen.  I subscribe to a few and they
range from awful to great but too damnned long (Elephant Talk).

Second, a response to Steve (Mr. Obsessed With Music) Reule's review of
Testimonial Dinner:

I'm listening to the Testimonial Dinner CD as I type (for the second time)
 and I don't think that there is a dog among the covers.  Each version is
 enjoyable, some fairly faithful to the original and some less so.

I basically agree with everything you wrote, except for the following:

I disagree with your assessment of Brad Roberts as a singer and I think
 that the CTD' version of All You Pretty Girls would've benefitted from
 giving him the lead (as was the case with their cover of Peter
 Pumpkinhead).  Because of his voice, anything he sings becomes more

I just love Sarah McLachlan's version of Dear God for the same reason you
 do.  It builds so nicely and there is some great guitar and emotions that
 surface as the song goes on.

I completely disagree with your review of Ruben Blades version of Man Who
 Sailed Around His Soul.  On headphones, the song is bongo heaven.  I don't
 find it a completely salsa version to the loss of the James Bond feel.  I
 still get that spy thriller feeling and find this version exhilarating.
 Makes me want to get up and dance more than the original does.

I don't find TMBG' version of 25 O'Clock to be a parody of a parody.  It's
 a parody simply redone in their own image and very psychedelic.

No one's going to convince me that it isn't XTC doing The Good Thing here.
 (The CD booklet admits it as such by referring to the original song as "an
 alternate version" or something like that.)  I think it's absolutely
 exquisite.  I'd love to get a whole album of XTC doing their own remakes
 if this is any indication of what they could do.  WOW!

Joe Jackson really puts his personal stamp on Statue of Liberty.  It almost
 makes it sound like it was XTC who did a cover of a Joe Jackson song.

All in all, a great and enjoyable CD.

Finally, to Nick Brown---I think that Prefab Sprout is a fabulous band with
Jordan: The Comeback being one of the very great albums made (and which was
produced by Thomas Dolby, by the way).  Alas, since that album, I've only
seen a compilation CD and wonder if they've disbanded. Even if they have,
what has become of their leader, singer and songwriter Paddy McAloon?

Well, it's great to be back, isn't it?  Now all we need is for XTC to be
back (with a new album)!



Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 20:00:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: A Sattler <>
Subject: Caveat Emptor: The new Jules Verne CD

A few notes on the new CD of "Jule Verne's Sketchbook" from Extatic:
  "When We Get to England" has been inexplicably ommitted (pity, as
it's one of Andy's loveliest songs, IMHO).  The version of "Young
Cleopatra" is the full band demo (considerably faster in tempo), not
the demo which appeared on the original cassette.  So, in other words,
this is not an exact copy of the original JVS cassette.  (Is it worth
it to hear the rest of the material? -- absolutely!)
  The sound quality is pretty much as it was on the cassette, no vast
improvement (at least to my ears), but no worse -- and yes, there is
some background hiss.  The original cover art and notes were not used :(
(Check out the great notes in the Chalkhills archives with the lyrics
for the cassette).
  On the plus side, the CD contains very early outtakes "Let's Have
Fun" and "Fireball XL-5".

for now,
  Annie S.


Date: Sat, 21 Oct 95 04:15:00 UTC
Subject: the Disappointed

From: "Chris Savage" <>:
:Then came the disappointment:  the tour was cancelled.  Supposedly,
:Andy Partridge had had a "nervous breakdown" on tour and was told
:by his doctors that he should not tour again!  I was forced to redeem
:my ticket for the $$$.   Aauggghh!!!
:Anyone else share this horrible experience?

Yes, it's like deja vu all over again.  I had tickets for the same tour --
mine were for the student union theater in Madison Wisconsin.  The UW
students had a group called Students for Progressive Radio that worked
very hard to lure XTC to Madtown.  It would have been an intimate gig in
a small theater with good acoustics.

Then Andy short circuited.

I feel like a celibate who *almost* lost his virginity once years ago,
and now I'll never know what it's like except from books and videos.  ;-)



Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 23:57:01 -0500
Subject: It's XTC--have no fear

>My theory is that
>this is a Colin Moulding solo project.  This theory allows that David
>Yazbek and Andy were not lying when they said that this was NOT an XTC
>track, yet accounts for the other facts mentioned previously.

Try listening a little more carefully and you'll distinctly hear Andy's
vocals harmonizing or echoing, and in places like "You ain't missing
anything" it's Andy alone.  I even hear Dave in closing bars of the song:
"Let me tell you..."  And what exactly isn't "polished" about the

A more interesting question would be, what role, if any, Terry Chambers had
on the album, since he's given special thanks (but only *after* our very
own Mr John Relph).  Barry Andrews isn't mentioned, but Terry is.  Who's
this Chris Sharrock?  I wonder.... nah.

Glanced over at the very vivid Verve Pipe home page (my, they're well
connected, aren't they? and an *800* number??? my oh my).  From reading
their bios and newsclips, singer/songwriter Brian Vander Ark seems like an
Andy Partridge protoge, prima donna and all.  <"Everybody knows it's
important that I get time alone to write," says Vander Ark.>  Drummer Donny
Brown takes the back seat in composition a la Moulding.  They look like a
band on the edge of something really big....  And I'm ordering Blue Beret
>from the web page (boy, this World Wide Web thing is really paying off, say
the band).

Their new album is being produced by Jerry Harrison (the hot producer of
the moment) of Talking Heads, now just called Heads since contractually
they'd need David Byrne to be Talking.  Deborah Harry is the vocalist on
the new Heads song 'No Talking--Just Heads'.  Harrison has his hands full,
what with having Andy Partridge in his band and in the next studio
producing a band full of diehard XTC fans.  As a sometimes Talking
Heads-o-phile, I can't wait to hear Andy's Head talk.



Date:         Sat, 21 Oct 95 02:09:38 EDT
From: (Gene "Sp00n" Yoon)
Subject:      Blue Beret by touch-tone phone

Quick addendum: I just called the 'Verve Pipeline' 800 number (it's almost
embarrassing to admit, though I'm not exactly sure why).  If you press
option 4# you can hear three one-minute portions of Verve Pipe songs--two
of which are their XTC covers!  Even through the low fidelity sound of my
telephone I was thoroughly impressed by their version of Blue Beret, of
which I only heard XTC's live acoustic version before.  If you're curious,
give a call at (800)951-7473.  The answering system is rather inane, as you
can only choose one option per call, or else redial.  Then again, why does
this group need an 800 number?  They must have one helluva marketing


Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 20:57:21 +1000 (GMT+1000)
From: Vzzzbx <>
Subject: TD in Australia [and other guff]

All this talk about Testimonial Dinner has me jealous.

Does anyone know when it'll be released in Australia?  We normally get
these sort of releases soon after their initial release abroad, but I
don't even know if this one will _have_ a local release.  Every other XTC
product has been released here, but that was Virgin...

 #> From:
 #> Andy says they are "inches" away from getting out of
 #> their Virgin contract and that he is hoping that their next album
 #> will be a double album!

Oooh, this would be nice.  The three/four year wait would be well
justified by a walloping great 70+ minutes of XTC.  And, given the time
span, all the material should be first class.

One good thing about a new label -- there's a chance they'll market XTC at
a level they deserve.  Who knows, they might even <gasp> become popular!

I saw a UK pop collection the other day, on the Dino Music label.  It's
got a heap of '70s and '80s music on it, including 'Generals And Majors'.
The compilation was in the 'best buys' section of a local music store.  If
only I could remember the name of it.  Its front cover was set out like a
newspaper, and XTC gets its own article in the bottom right corner.

Anyway, just thought that'd be of interest to someone.  :)


In the CD player:
- XTC -- 'Mummer'
- Enya -- 'Shepherd Moons'
- Beatles -- 'Magical Mystery Tour'


Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 11:11:24 +0000
From: (Mark Fisher)
Subject: whatever happened to Limelight etc

Just to let anyone who cares know that I'm now on-line and deeply
apologetic for not producing an edition of Limelight for several decades.
And not answering anyone's mail for even longer. The defunct address given
on the Chalkhills FAQ is very defunct, although my parents still live
there, so don't bother writing to it. Fatherhood and a busy job have meant
I just don't have the time to be producing fanzines for fun. Sorry.

I haven't noticed anyone referring to the recent book publihsed (in the UK)
by Picador at 12.99 [pounds Sterling] written by Giles Smith called Lost in
Music: A Pop Odyssey. It's a kind of autobiography told via his record
collection - and XTC references crop up throughout. He was in the Cleaners
from Venus with Martin Newell whose album The Greatest Living Englishman
was recorded and produced by Andy Partridge in his back-garden
studio. Before he started writing for The Independent and Q, Smith
contributed to Limelight - so remember where you read him first. An
entertaining read.

Mark Fisher (,uk)


Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 09:41:37 -0700
From: Neil Goldstein <>
Subject: The Good Things

Have to disagree about the negative reviews on Terry & the Lovemen's tune on

This song is a gift! Pretty tune, nice arrangement and important message.
The band is loving us here, friends. That's no joke. If it is only Terry's
solo project, he sure has picked up well on the use of polychordal guitar
tracks from the rest of the band.

BTW, where do you submit chords for the WWW site? I worked out Ballet for a
Rainy Day, which I'm gonna do for Skylacking.

    _/      _/  _/_/_/  _/  _/
   _/_/    _/  _/      _/  _/
  _/  _/  _/  _/_/    _/  _/
 _/    _/_/  _/      _/  _/
_/      _/  _/_/_/  _/  _/_/_/

Neil Goldstein     Portland, Oregon USA
voice: (503) 293-1356    fax: (503) 293-0312


Date: Sat, 21 Oct 1995 21:08:25 -0400
Subject: Where is he now?

 relph (John Relph) writes:

>David Yazbek had
>worked with Andy Partridge in the past; they had written some songs
>together and Andy had produced a couple of tracks for a never-released
>album.  So David asked XTC to contribute something.  They said yes,
>went to New York, recorded it, and there ya go!  (Actually, Andy may
>have been living in NYC during that time.)

Does he still live in New York?  Did he return to England?  Why did he move
to NYC in the first place (Divorce, etc.)?

John L.


From: (Giancarlo Cairella)
Subject: Extatic Demos / Alibi Records
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 01:48:35 GMT
Organization: L'Agora' Srl

On Wed, 4 Oct 1995 11:28:18 -0700, you wrote:
A Sattler <> wrote:

>  the new mail order flyer from Alibi Records lists the latest
>in the series of Extatic demo CDs as being available at $24.99 each (call
>them about postage and tax).  In the flyer No. 6 is called "Skylarking
>and More" and No. 7 is "Jules Verne's Sketchbook" (!)
>  They still show Demos no. 1-5 as being available as well (look at
>the Chalkhills discographies for more info).  They will reserve items if
>you call.

A couple of weeks ago I called Alibi and ordered the whole set of demos 1-7.
They said they'd keep them on hold and told me to mail a check, which I did.
Three days ago I received a package in the mail from them, including all demo
CD except number six, with no letter/explanation from Alibi; I had asked for a
catalog too, but the package only included the CD's.

I just hope it's only a mistake on their part and that they'll be able to send
me the missing CD (I'll call them on monday to ask about it), but it sure casts
a bad shadow on their "reservation" policy: I reserved (and paid in advance
for) all seven CD's and now I'm one short :-(.

BTW, as expected, the demo CD's are great from a historic/musical point of
view, but their sound quality ranges from mediocre to horrible. I've heard
better bootlegs made on a walkman tape recorder! I'd recommend them only to
_real_ die-hard XTC completists.


<c> 1995 by Giancarlo Cairella, Internet User Computer Magazine
URL: <>


Date: Sat, 21 Oct 95 20:50:28 EST
From: "John Christensen" <>
Subject: Generous With My C's

My apologies to David Yazbek -- and his entire bloodline -- for
misspelling his name four (4) times in one post. Yazbek is a fine name
and certainly stands on its own without my extraneous consonant. Anyway,
I will gladly take back the "C" . . . Hristensen was so very hard to

Please excuse me now as I (blushingly) disappear back into my favorite
lurking chair . . . What WAS I thinking to have left those comfy contour

And thank goodness I've got my new spellcheck program installed . . .

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming where the rest of you
discuss our favorite lads: Anby Putridge, Colon Molding and Dive

Jasper C.

"There is no language is our lungs, to hide the fact that we can't


Subject: Testy Moan-ial Dinner
From: (JD MACK)
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 95 23:05:00 -0400
Organization: Online Technologies, Inc. - Modem:  301-738-0000

Hey, I wanna throw my review out into the group as well!  I'l start by
saying something nice.  "Another Sattelite" is the only song on the
album that actually betters the original!  The only thing that keeps the
song from being perfect is the part after the first chorus where the
drums drop out.  A great amount of the momentum is lost.  But the hard
driving beat really suits this song!  Why isn't radio playing this!?

Now for the downers.  "Senses Working Overtime" is, IMHO, an
embarassment (did I spell that right?).  I simply find that voice to be
very annoying. Skip by that one!

The music for "Earn Enough For Us" is great, but Freedy Johnston seems
to have a real breathing problem.  He takes breaths all over the place,
even in the middle of words (it [breath] self).  Pardon me if this seems
nit-picky, but I notice these things.

"Wake Up" is my favorite Colin song, mainly because it takes syncopation
to the extreme.  The Verve Pipe seemed determined to remove as much
syncopation from the song as possible.  Great vocals though.

Ah, one last positive note.  I think I may be alone on this, but I
actually like the CTD song.  Unlike "Ballad of P. P.," this time they
tried to create their own unique version of the song, and I give it a
thumbs up.

I'll end with a couple of questions.  All of the bands on this CD are
supposed to be die-hard XTC fans.  Does this apply to Ruben Blades?
Somehow I have trouble imagining this one!  If XTC hadn't recorded "The
Man Who Sailed ..." the way they did, which XTC song would Ruben have


Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 00:02:20 -0400
Subject: "Worst Track?"  C'mon!!

In a message dated 95-10-19 19:28:41 EDT, some "critic" wrote:

>Ruben Blades "Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" -  I love Andy's
> vocal on the original and the arrangement but this salsa version
> is somewhat of a letdown for me.  I've never really had much like
> for this salsa stuff and this doesn't even strike me as that well
> done.  The vocals seem adequate at best and the arrangement
> bordering on hokey.  I sure miss the James Bond feel on the
> original.  I know Costello worked a little with Blades but this
> is first I know of him.  It doesn't make me want to hear more.
> The worst track on the album, easily.

I'm sorry. Give me a break.  Listen up.  Don't go against what you don't
know.  The fact that there's a salsa cover of a XTC song at all, and done by
one of the most intelligent singers/songwriters in the world doesn't deserve
such slight judgement.  Please, don't say you choose the Rembrandts over
Ruben Blades. Please.  Listen again, and then write a better opinion.  That's
the way salsa is meant to be played.  If you miss the "James Bond"
arrangement, then go listen to Skylarking.




Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 10:34:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Re: P.Hux

  Regarding P.Hux(Parthenon Huxley), in addition to his work with E, he put
out a wonderful guitar-pop songwriter album of his own; I saw the video from
it, "Double Our Numbers" on MTV once back in '89 and it was one of the few
good things EmptyV was playing at the time(aside from "The Mayor Of Simple-
ton," of course)and rushed out and brought the album. I had never heard of
him before or since until I picked up E's first album in one of the local
stores here in the dollar cassette bin(amazing the things you find in there),
and there Hux was in the credits. His album is one of the best pure-pop song-
writing efforts of the late 80's- get it if you can find it!
  I think Elvis Costello was on Ruben Blades' English album of the late '80's
Nothing But The Truth. Whoever liked the idea of them collaborating may al-
ready have his wish. At the very least he wrote a song on the album, even if
he didn't actually perform. I remember it being mentioned in Christgau's con-
sumer guide. He has some interesting things to say about XTC, BTW.


Date: Sun, 22 Oct 1995 19:25:14 +0100
From: (John Morrish)
Subject: watney's red barrel

>Just sitting here enjoying a Watneys (Curse You Red Barrel!!)... hmm... I
>wonder if that might be Andy's favorite beer... anyone know?

This is my Chalkhills debut, but I couldn't let that one go. Watney's Red
Barrel, which no longer exists, is a long-standing British laughing-stock
on account of its soft-drink quality. It was always said that it could be
legally sold as lemonade since it contained so little alcohol (being low in
alcohol, it also attracted very low duty, which made it extremely
profitable for the brewers). To quote a joke of that era:Q: "What's the
difference between making love in a punt and Watney's Red Barrel?" A:
"Nothing. They're both f***ing close to water". Ho ho ho. Later they
changed the name to Watney's Red and had an advertising campaign that went
on about Joining The Red Army. V.tasteful in c1968.

Anyway, I didn't think Partridge drank...



Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 11:05:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The Verve Pipe

Alright, I guess I'll fill you all in on TVP (as ,much as I can).  I have
been a musician on the local scene (live in Ypsilanti, MI) for a few years
and (as a necessity in the business) studied up on local music in the Ann
Arbor, and East Lansing areas.  I first heard of TVP when a fellow musician
dragged me to the release party for POPSMEAR, their second album.  I became
an instant fan and have been lucky to have seen them about a half dozen
times at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. TVP live act is one of the best I have
ever experienced in my entire life at any level, right up there with
Jellyfish.  Their first album is called I'VE SUFFERED A HEAD INJURY and
these first 2 albums will be distributed by RCA(they are definitely of
worthy sound quality) .  They were national winners of the YAMAHA
SOUNDCHECK competition and went on to compete internationally in Japan.  I
have met these guys on several occassions and they seem to be real nice
good guys.  After numerous offers from labels, they signed with RCA and
presently are finishing their national debut for RCA.  Producing for them
is none other than Jerry Harrison of The Talking Heads (who also produced
Live's Throwing Copper album) I highly recommend that you dig into The
Verve Pipe.  Their brilliant songwriting and very proffessional performance
is very worthy of your attention. ....and NO, I am not employed by TVP,
RCA, or any other affiliated party!



Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 10:27:35 -0500
From: (Todd Weisrock - CIS)
Subject: Bland Dinner

My first post.... Hello!

Pardon my irreverence, but I am not too thrilled with
Testamonial Dinner, but then again, when are covers
nearly as good as the originals?  I am not really a
fan of many of the artists on the album either, so I
suppose that could lead to my less than enthusiastic
review.  The Earn Enough for Us cover was my biggest
disappointment.  By putting that song first on the
album, I got really nervous that the rest of it would

On a cheerier note, I love the Dear God cover.  While
The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul is alright, no one
can match the masters.


Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 09:17:35 -0700
From: relph (John Relph)
Subject: Divers writes:
>  The medieval trope is tired.

I don't suppose you asked the trope...

Ben Gott <> asks:
>Could someone please explain to me why the first song my brother's "Go2"
>record is "Beattown"? The label on the record is the same as on my CD (and on
>John Relph's XTC discography; e.g. "Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!); Battery
>Brides; etc...) Is this some *record* thing? I'm thoroughly confused...

Are the remainder of the songs out of order?  Or is the label for side
one actually stuck to side two of the vinyl and vice versa?

Drew! <apn@UDel.Edu> asks:
>So what are those plaques Andy, Colin and Dave are holding up in the
>picture on the album liner?

Could those be the Casby Awards?
>I was recently at the record store and the Andy Partidge/Harold Budd CD was
>recommended to me. However, I thought I would ask you people for your
>advice on that.  What XTC songs would compare to this CD?

This album does not compare to XTC.  It is completely different.
I might compare the album to Eno's ambient albums: quiet, lacking
rhythm, organized for a sense of space rather than a sense of time.

	-- John

They don't call it the Net of a Million Lies for nothing.


Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 10:35:31 -0600 (CST)
From: Erik Anderson <>
Subject: The XTC Video Tree

Well, here it is...finally!  A note to the branches: you are in charge of
getting in touch with your leaves to make trading arrangements.

Each branch will be contacted by private e-mail in the next few days to
make trading arrangements.

EVERYONE:  please check to see that your e-mail address is correct.  If
there is a mistake, contact your branch, not me.


PAL BRANCH -- I'm having the conversion done in Canada.  Once it is
completed I will distribute to each of you in the same tree format.  (would you like to act as the PAL Branch?)




End of Chalkhills Digest #2-15

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